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Environmental law

2019

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Nothing Is Over: Ftca Claims For Toxic Torts On Native Lands, Jessica Ditmore Dec 2019

Nothing Is Over: Ftca Claims For Toxic Torts On Native Lands, Jessica Ditmore

American Indian Law Journal

In 1976, Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) to curtail the growing problem of disposing of hazardous waste and toxic substances generally. Decades prior, Congress established the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) to hold the federal Government liable for tortious conduct the same way a private citizen would be. The federal government assumed the responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of Native Nations (“NN”). This is commonly referred to the “Trust Doctrine.” This duty stems from the settlement of Native American lands, and a recognition of the treaties entered into by the United States with a “moral [obligation] …


Fighting On Behalf Of The Salish Sea, Cloie M. Chapman Dec 2019

Fighting On Behalf Of The Salish Sea, Cloie M. Chapman

American Indian Law Journal

Despite the wealth of data that suggests climate change will disrupt our ecosystems, key political actors have declined to take action to mitigate the anticipated effects. Further, we have seen deeper investment into the fossil fuel industry, an industry that has been a substantial contributor to climate change. Community-led movements have proven more successful in engaging with these issues on the ground. Creative legal strategies could aid in this movement and allow for strengthened enforcement of rights that are closely dependent on the health of the environment.

The Salish Sea is a body of water that reaches from Western Canada …


Raping Indian Country, Sarah Deer, Elizabeth Kronk Warner Dec 2019

Raping Indian Country, Sarah Deer, Elizabeth Kronk Warner

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

In this article, we have examined the policies of the Trump Administration as they relate to extractive development on and near Indian country, and policies related to the protection of Native people from rape and sexual assault. As demonstrated above, the Administration’s policies are likely to increase both the environmental and physical vulnerabilities of Native people. Native people will not only likely face exasperated physical insecurity, but their environments will likely be increasingly stripped on natural resources. As a result, the raping of Indian county continues. But, this article is not without hope. At least two ways forward, improvements upon …


Critical Issues In Transportation 2019: Climate Change Resilience, Vicki Arroyo Dec 2019

Critical Issues In Transportation 2019: Climate Change Resilience, Vicki Arroyo

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The climate is rapidly changing, bringing more frequent and extreme floods, droughts, and heatwaves, along with stronger hurricanes and more intense wildfires. Each year brings new record-breaking weather extremes; in the first six months of 2019, for example, a record number of U.S. counties flooded. July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded for the world as a whole (1). Climate change is also melting glaciers, reducing the amount of sea ice, and raising sea levels, bringing devastation to coastal areas. From Louisiana to Alaska, many coastal communities are forced to make difficult decisions about whether to relocate …


Protecting Natural Resources - Forever: The Obligations Of State Officials To Uphold "Forever" Constitutional Provisions, Rachel E. Deming Sep 2019

Protecting Natural Resources - Forever: The Obligations Of State Officials To Uphold "Forever" Constitutional Provisions, Rachel E. Deming

Pace Environmental Law Review

This Article analyzes the attacks on a state constitutional conservation lands program since the election of a governor and state legislature opposed to environmental regulation in 2010 – a precursor to current happenings at the federal level under the Trump administration. Former Florida Governor Rick Scott and his administration have spent an average of over $40 million a year in taxpayer money to defend and, in most cases, pay judgments, in lawsuits challenging mandates of the Florida Constitution.

I examine this issue of ignoring or deliberately violating constitutional requirements through the lens of state constitutional provisions that protect natural resources, …


Tpp And Environmental Regulation, Errol Meidinger Aug 2019

Tpp And Environmental Regulation, Errol Meidinger

Contributions to Books

Published as Chapter 8 in Megaregulation Contested: Global Economic Ordering After TPP, Benedict Kingsbury, David M. Malone, Paul Mertenskötter, Richard B. Stewart, Thomas Streinz & Atsushi Sunami, eds.

This article examines the environment-related provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) to assess how and how much they contribute to a larger megaregulatory program for the Asia-Pacific region. The TPP calls for ‘high levels’ of environmental protection and effective enforcement; incorporates duties from several multilateral environmental agreements; adds new provisions addressing several important environmental problems; mandates administrative best practices; promotes corporate social responsibility and the use of voluntary certification systems; and …


Who Takes A Dam: Regulatory Confusion And Surging Opportunities For Small Dam Removal In Rural Maine, Grady R. Burns Aug 2019

Who Takes A Dam: Regulatory Confusion And Surging Opportunities For Small Dam Removal In Rural Maine, Grady R. Burns

Maine Law Review

This Comment examines the regulatory regimes surrounding the removal of state-regulated small dams in Maine by comparing the relatively underdeveloped regime in Maine with the much more coherent and robust regime in neighboring New Hampshire. When compared to more deliberate regimes, Maine’s system lacks key features, including a streamlined permitting program and a single clearinghouse for information, resources, and regulatory enforcement. Given the significant opportunities afforded by a coherent regulatory small dam removal regime, this Comment recommends that Maine follow the example of other states by creating a river restoration and dam removal program, re-establishing its statewide dam inventory, creating …


Conservation, Regionality, And The Farm Bill, Jess R. Phelps Aug 2019

Conservation, Regionality, And The Farm Bill, Jess R. Phelps

Maine Law Review

Over the past several Farm Bills, there has been a somewhat subtle shift in program design to better incorporate regional perspectives/localized areas of conservation concern into national conservation program delivery. The purpose of this Article is to specifically explore the various roles that regional considerations play in existing Farm Bill conservation programs and also consider whether further developments in this direction could result in more flexible program delivery, more effective partnerships, and ultimately, better conservation outcomes. To this end, section II will provide an overview of the history of the Farm Bill, from its origins to the emergence of a …


Saving The Serengeti: Africa's New International Judicial Environmentalism, James T. Gathii Jun 2019

Saving The Serengeti: Africa's New International Judicial Environmentalism, James T. Gathii

James T Gathii

This Article analyzes recent environmental law decisions of Africa's fledgling international courts. In 2014, for example, the East African Court of Justice stopped the government of Tanzania from building a road across Serengeti National Park because of its potential adverse environmental impacts. Decisions like these have inaugurated a new era of enhanced environmental judicial protection in Africa. This expansion into environmental law decision-making by Africa's international trade courts contrasts with other international courts that are designed to specialize on one issue area such as human rights or international trade, but not both. By contrast, Africa's international courts are simultaneously pushing …


Dealing With Climate Change Under The National Environmental Policy Act, Arnold W. Reitze Jr. Jun 2019

Dealing With Climate Change Under The National Environmental Policy Act, Arnold W. Reitze Jr.

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was an important environmental law for several decades before climate change became an issue of concern. Beginning in the 1990s efforts began to include in NEPA’s environmental assessments and environmental impact statements both the impact of federal government actions on climate change and the impact of climate change on proposed federal actions. These efforts were encouraged by the Council on Environmental Quality. However, implementation at the agency level has been uneven. Some Federal agencies have resisted making serious efforts to incorporate climate change impacts into their decision-making process. Moreover, the courts have not been …


Juliana V. United States, Daniel Brister May 2019

Juliana V. United States, Daniel Brister

Public Land & Resources Law Review

In 2015, a group of adolescents between the ages of eight and nineteen filed a lawsuit against the federal government for infringing upon their civil rights to a healthy, habitable future living environment. Those Plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States alleged that the industrial-scale burning of fossil fuels was causing catastrophic and destabilizing impacts to the global climate, threatening the survival and welfare of present and future generations. Seeking to reduce the United States’ contributions to atmospheric carbon dioxide, Plaintiffs demanded injunctive and declaratory relief to halt the federal government’s policies of promoting and subsidizing fossil fuels, due to the …


Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee May 2019

Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

If an agency newly declares that it lacks statutory power previously claimed, how should such a move—what this article calls agency statutory abnegation—be reviewed? Given the array of strategies an agency might use to make a policy change or move the law in a deregulatory direction, why might statutory abnegation be chosen? After all, it is always a perilous and likely doctrinally disadvantageous strategy for agencies. Nonetheless, agencies from time to time have utilized statutory abnegation claims as part of their justification for deregulatory shifts. Actions by agencies during 2017 and 2018, under the administration of President Donald J. Trump, …


The Federal Government Has An Implied Moral Constitutional Duty To Protect Individuals From Harm Due To Climate Change: Throwing Spaghetti Against The Wall To See What Sticks, Hope M. Babcock May 2019

The Federal Government Has An Implied Moral Constitutional Duty To Protect Individuals From Harm Due To Climate Change: Throwing Spaghetti Against The Wall To See What Sticks, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The continuing failure of the federal government to respond to the growing threat of climate change, despite affirmative duties to do so, creates a governance vacuum that the Constitution might help fill, if such a responsibility could be found within the document. This Article explores textual and non-textual constitutional support for that responsibility, finding that no single provision of the Constitution is a perfect fit for that responsibility. However, the document as a whole might support constitutionalizing an environmental protection norm as an individual right or affirmative government obligation given the norm's importance to the enjoyment of other constitutional rights …


Eating Our Way To Their Extinction: What Florida Should Learn From California On Banning Shark Fin Soup And The Shark Fin Trade, Bettina Tran Apr 2019

Eating Our Way To Their Extinction: What Florida Should Learn From California On Banning Shark Fin Soup And The Shark Fin Trade, Bettina Tran

Seattle Journal of Environmental Law

Currently, it is legal to possess, sell and purchase shark fins in 38 states, Florida included. Fishermen are allowed to harvest sharks all around the world with minimal surveillance and weak regulation, causing greed to push a 400-million-year old species to the brink of extinction. Florida’s current statue is completely ineffective and toothless when it comes to shark conservation. The State needs to amend its shark fin law prohibiting the trade in all detached shark fins, for any purpose, by anyone to discontinue fueling a cruel practice. There is a federal bill pending in congress that would ban the trade …


From Paris To Pittsburgh: U.S. State And Local Leadership In An Era Of Trump, Vicki Arroyo Apr 2019

From Paris To Pittsburgh: U.S. State And Local Leadership In An Era Of Trump, Vicki Arroyo

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

States and cities have long been leaders on clean energy and climate policy. Their work has informed development of federal policies including motor vehicle standards and the Clean Power Plan. With the election of President Trump and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change, subnational leadership has become even more important and urgent. In response, many states and cities have pledged to enact new policies to mitigate the effects of climate change and help communities adapt. This Article focuses on recent developments in subnational leadership on both climate mitigation and adaptation to demonstrate the breadth and depth of engagement by …


From The Clean Power Plan To The Affordable Clean Energy Rule: How Regulated Entities Adapt To Regulatory Change And Uncertainty, Ryan B. Stoa Mar 2019

From The Clean Power Plan To The Affordable Clean Energy Rule: How Regulated Entities Adapt To Regulatory Change And Uncertainty, Ryan B. Stoa

Hofstra Law Review

Regulated entities often struggle to adapt to regulatory change and uncertainty. This is particularly true in the power and utilities sectors, where the scope and scale of project-level planning and management is broad, and changes to these processes can be highly disruptive. Regulatory disruption notwithstanding, some companies adapt to regulatory change and uncertainty better than others. Presently, there is a gap in understanding what these regulatory adaptation best practices might be for the power and utilities sectors.

When the federal Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") publicly proposed the Clean Power Plant ("CPP") in 2014, stakeholders in the power and utilities sectors …


Strategic Institutional Positioning: How We Have Come To Generate Environmental Law Without Congress, Donald J. Kochan Mar 2019

Strategic Institutional Positioning: How We Have Come To Generate Environmental Law Without Congress, Donald J. Kochan

Texas A&M Law Review

The administrative state has emerged as a pervasive machine that has become the dominate generator of legal rules—despite the fact that the U.S. Constitution commits the legislative power to Congress alone. When examining legislation authorizing administrative agencies to promulgate rules, we are often left asking whether Congress “dele- gates” away its lawmaking authority by giving agencies too much power and discretion to decide what rules should be promulgated and to determine how rich to make their content. If the agencies get broad authority, it is not too hard to understand why they would fulsomely embrace the grant to its fullest. …


Solenex Llc V. Jewell, F. Aaron Rains Jan 2019

Solenex Llc V. Jewell, F. Aaron Rains

Public Land & Resources Law Review

In Solenex LLC v. Jewell, the Secretary of the Interior cancelled a highly contentious oil and gas lease in Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine area, an environmentally sensitive and culturally significant area to the Blackfeet Tribe, nearly thirty years after the lease had been issued. Solenex, a Louisiana based oil and gas company and holder of the lease, brought this action to enjoin the cancellation. The District Court for the District of Columbia agreed with Solenex and found that the Secretary’s decision took an unreasonable amount of time and violated good-faith contractual obligations. On these grounds, the court found the Secretary’s …


Environmental Law. Disrupted., Erin Ryan Jan 2019

Environmental Law. Disrupted., Erin Ryan

Scholarly Publications

The U.S. regulatory environment is changing rapidly, at the same time that visible and profound impacts of climate change are already being felt throughout the world, and enormous, potentially existential threats loom in the not-so-distant future. What does it mean to think about and practice environmental law in this setting? In this latest in a biannual series of postings and essays, the authors, members of the Environmental Law Collaborative (ELC), have taken on the question of whether environmental law as we currently know it is up to the job of addressing these threats; and, if not, what the path forward …


Environmental Justice And The Hesitant Embrace Of Human Rights, Dayna Nadine Scott Jan 2019

Environmental Justice And The Hesitant Embrace Of Human Rights, Dayna Nadine Scott

Articles & Book Chapters

This chapter explores some of the tensions inherent in employing ‘rights strategies’ in environmental justice movements. Using the example of a judicial review application brought by Indigenous environmental justice activists in Canada demonstrates the symbolic power of using rights-based language for environmental justice, but also underscores the serious procedural, logistical and resource barriers that frustrate these groups in their attempts to deploy litigation tactics. Legal scholars need to think critically about ‘rights-talk’ and confront the hard questions about its utility for advancing environmental justice. In working with communities, we must learn to listen to what communities want before we default …


The Genie Is Out Of The De-Extinction Bottle: A Problem In Risk Regulation And Regulatory Gaps, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2019

The Genie Is Out Of The De-Extinction Bottle: A Problem In Risk Regulation And Regulatory Gaps, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Once the province of horror films and fantasy, the idea of recreating extinct life forms is poised to move from science fiction to laboratories and from there to the world at large. While “de-extinction is not something that will take place tomorrow . . . scientists are making major advancements, and eventual success appears inevitable.” Spurred on by the burgeoning field of genetic engineering, it was only a matter of time before scientists turned their attention to recreating extinct life forms, either for the thrill of it or in atonement for the human role in the extinction process.

But science …


Sustainable Development: Energy, Justice, And Women, Lakshman Guruswamy Jan 2019

Sustainable Development: Energy, Justice, And Women, Lakshman Guruswamy

Publications

This article will first offer a functional synopsis relevant to its remit, of the concept of sustainable development (SD) embodied in international law and policy that reflects a tension between economic and social claims as contrasted with environmental protection. While the dominant place acquired by the economic and social dimensions of SD will be recognized, it will argue consistent with the predicate of justice discussed in the article, that the protection of the human environment encompasses the plight of the energy poor and their women and children. Second, the article will delineate the contours of one of the great developmental …


Discordant Environmental Laws: Using Statutory Flexibility And Multi-Objective Optimization To Reconcile Conflicting Laws, Mary Jane Angelo Jan 2019

Discordant Environmental Laws: Using Statutory Flexibility And Multi-Objective Optimization To Reconcile Conflicting Laws, Mary Jane Angelo

UF Law Faculty Publications

The current morass of federal environmental laws has led to significant conflicts among statutes and the manner in which agencies implement them. In recent years, this quagmire of environmental laws has hindered the progress of a number of high-profile environmental regulatory programs and restoration projects. Neither the Courts nor legal scholars have developed approaches to resolving conflicts in a manner that harmonizes environmental statutes while at the same time protecting the most critical environmental resources. A standard methodology that optimizes the multiple objectives of environmental statutes and their implementing programs would greatly enhance decision-making and ensure that the most salient …


Reversing Course On Environmental Justice Under The Trump Administration, Uma Outka, Elizabeth Kronk Warner Jan 2019

Reversing Course On Environmental Justice Under The Trump Administration, Uma Outka, Elizabeth Kronk Warner

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

This Article traces how policy reversals in the first years of the Trump Administration implicate protections for diverse, low-income communities in the context of environmental pollution and climate change. The environmental justice movement has drawn critical attention to the persistent inequality in exposure to environmental harms, tracking racial and income lines. As a result of decades of advocacy, environmental justice has become an established, if not realized, principle in environmental law. Shifting positions under the Trump Administration now undermine this progress. To illustrate, this Article uses three exemplary contexts — agency transition, environmental law implementation, and international relations on climate …


Traditional Ecological Knowledge In Environmental Decisionmaking, Anthony Moffa Jan 2019

Traditional Ecological Knowledge In Environmental Decisionmaking, Anthony Moffa

Faculty Publications

Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is defined as a deep understanding of the environment developed by local communities and indigenous peoples over generations. In the United States, Canada, and around the world, indigenous peoples are increasingly advocating for incorporation of TEK into a range of environmental decisionmaking contexts, including natural resource and wildlife management, pollution standards, environmental and social planning, environmental impact assessment, and adaptation to climate change. On October 31, 2018, ELI hosted an expert panel on TEK, co-sponsored by the National Native American Bar Association and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. The panel discussed …


Environmental Gentrification, Sarah Fox Jan 2019

Environmental Gentrification, Sarah Fox

University of Colorado Law Review

Gentrification is a term often used, much maligned, and difficult to define. A few general principles can nonetheless be distilled regarding the concept. First, gentrification is spurred by rising desirability of an area for housing or commercial purposes. Second, this rising desirability, following basic supply-and-demand principles, leads to higher property values and rents in an uncontrolled market. Third, gentrification leads to a shift in the demographics of a neighborhood. This shift can change not only the socioeconomic and racial composition of the area but also the community's character, as residential and commercial options begin to reflect the preferences of the …


The Use Of Courts To Protect The Environmental Commons, Lakshman Guruswamy Jan 2019

The Use Of Courts To Protect The Environmental Commons, Lakshman Guruswamy

Publications

No abstract provided.


Just Transitions, Ann M. Eisenberg Jan 2019

Just Transitions, Ann M. Eisenberg

Faculty Publications

The transition to a low-carbon society will have winners and losers as the costs and benefits of decarbonization fall unevenly on different communities. This potential collateral damage has prompted calls for a “just transition” to a green economy. While the term, “just transition,” is increasingly prevalent in the public discourse, it remains under-discussed and poorly defined in legal literature, preventing it from helping catalyze fair decarbonization. This Article seeks to define the term, test its validity, and articulate its relationship with law so the idea can meet its potential.

The Article is the first to disambiguate and assess two main …


Strategic Institutional Positioning: How We Have Come To Generate Environmental Law Without Congress, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2018

Strategic Institutional Positioning: How We Have Come To Generate Environmental Law Without Congress, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

When examining legislation authorizing administrative agencies to promulgate rules, we are often left asking whether Congress “delegates” away its lawmaking authority by giving agencies too much power and discretion to decide what rules should be promulgated and to determine how rich to make their content. If the agencies get broad authority, it is not too hard to understand why they would fulsomely embrace the grant to its fullest. Once agencies are let loose by broad grants of rulemaking authority and they are off to the races, we are also often left scratching our heads wondering why Congress fails to intervene …